The Trail of Tears

On this day in 1830, Congress passed “The Indian Removal Act,” which permitted the forceful and sometimes violent removal of Native Americans from their homes, towns, villages, and farms in the Southeastern United States.

A few years later, thousands of Cherokee landowners and landowners of other nations were forcibly removed from their homes and farms by the State of Georgia. They were held in prison camps and then subjected to an 800-mile forced march to Oklahoma, resulting in the death of at least 2,000 people.

The land belonged to them.

A fraudulent treaty had been imposed upon them, coercing them into a one-sided deal where they “traded” their prime agricultural land, which they were expertly farming, for a reservation in Oklahoma.

The Cherokee people appealed to the Supreme Court, which declared the treaty invalid due to its fraudulent nature.

In response, Andrew Jackson famously stated, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it.”

A force of 15,000 militia descended on the region, removing native people from their homes at gunpoint and through threats of violence.

Opportunistic speculators seized the stolen land and transformed it into an empire of plantations fueled by slavery.

All of this was orchestrated by Andrew Jackson, the president whom Donald Trump has expressed admiration for (Jackson’s portrait hangs in Trump’s office).